Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hi A quick update as I had my cooking practical test on Friday I just want to post the results. I had to make Chicken Consommé, Grilled Salmon with Béarnaise Sauce, Duxcelle stuffed Tomatoes, Green Beans and rice pilaf all in 2 and a half hours start to finish. I had no problem getting the work done and my test score was 95 out of 100.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hey all sorry it’s been some time since my last post but the three weeks of quantity food production was the most busy I have been here at school. We started out in lunch and this is the busiest kitchen on campus they sell between 500 and 600 meals at lunch time and they are only open from 12:30 to 1:30 yes that’s 500-600 meals served in one hour. Class stares at 5:30 am with picking up the food from the store room. By 6:00 we have the food stored away in the kitchen, this is done around the students cooking and serving breakfast. After we finish that it’s off to lecture until 8:15 when we can get into the kitchen and start preparing lunch we have from 8:15 to 12:30 to get everything ready for service. Our class had 12 students and we made six different entrées each day. Once service starts it’s a mad rush to plate the food and get it out. To give you an idea of how much food that might be one day I cut 110 pounds of boneless chicken breasts into chicken strips for spicy chicken strips. The next day I breaded and fried all 110 pounds and we served 160 portions of the chicken in one hour. After service we clean the kitchen until 2:15 when the dinner students come in and start to prep for dinner. At this point we still are not done for the day. We have to have our wrap up meeting with the chef and discuss the plan for tomorrow; we typically finished between 3:30 and 4:00 each day. I did this for 7 days then switched to breakfast and that class started at 1:30 am but finished between 9:00 and 9:30 each day and did that for 7 days. Breakfast does not serve and many meals but everything is made to order so it’s a pretty busy day.

Now I am in a class called Garde Manger, it’s a class about making hors d’ oeuvres, forcemeats, sausage, cured and smoked foods. We did a reception today for about 100 people and it came out really cool looking. We will be making sausage and terrines for the next three days.

I have my cooking practical test this Friday so I have been bust getting all the recipes and game plans I will need to take that ready

Well that’s about all for now and just so you know the Wednesday before thanksgiving is my last day here at the Culinary as it’s the end of my first year. I need to go out and do and internship working for 18 weeks. My plan is to work at the Patterson Club in Fairfield CT and they are building a brand new building that will not be ready until March so I will be taking a short vacation from my training and starting to work in March and it looks like I will return to the Culinary some time August.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Well Asia’s is keeping me very busy. We are making all kinds of food I have never heard of before and have no idea how to make. The chef is a very cool guy and he shows us lots of neat stuff. For the next three days we will be making cuisine of India. And Friday is the final exam for this block and next week we start in the quantity food production kitchen K16. This is the kitchen that produces the largest number of student meals each day around 1200 or so. They typically do 500-600 lunches a day and we start with lunch on Tuesday. We do lunch for seven days the class starts at 6:45 am with a lecture but we have to get the food and have it all put away before the start of lecture so that means we will be starting closer to 6:00 am. After those seven days are over we move to breakfast service and that class starts at like 1:30 am the good news is we are done by about 8:00am so we have all day free but need to get to bead very early. I have lots of work to do over the next couple weeks as we have to a cooking practical test in November before we can go on extern and I need to get all my recipes and game plans set up for that. Thanks for stopping by and visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hey look at this another post and it’s only been a week. Well lots of things happening here at the CIA. I finished Cuisines of the Americas and started Cuisines of Asia. We are making Chinese food the first three days I have been making Moo-Shoo vegetables the last two days. Tomorrow I will be Souse Chef with the responsibility for the entire kitchen. That means lots of stuff to do. First I have to be at class extra early to pick up the food from the store room and the meat form the meat room and have it in the kitchen and all check in for the start of class at 6:45.
I want to thank all of you that keep checking back to see what I have been up to and a big thank you to everyone that leaves a comment as it’s nice to hear from everyone. In fact there are a couple questions I need to answer for the people that have left comments.
Poly Unsaturated asked about a chilled Cranberry Soup for Thanksgiving and I would serve it as a course of the meal. I don’t know what else you server as an appetizer but the soup could be a appetizer course. Also I would love to have the recipe for it so I could try it as it sounds good.
And Fan of Flan asked about what regional cuisine I enjoyed the best. As I had talked about making all that Chicken Fricassee a couple weeks ago and Fan of Flan thought I was more a BBQ person the a Chicken Fricassee person. I would have to say that is probably true. I very much enjoyed all the different cuisines we did in the Cuisines of Americas and I am having fun is Asia’s but so far the food is not so much to my liking.
The best thing for me now is that I no longer have any afternoon classes. Once I am finished in the kitchen I am done for the day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hi there
Things have been very busy since the last post as I said at the end of it. Diane was here for a Boot Camp and I stopped and visited with her a couple times and even took her a sample of the food I cooked one day. Also my birthday dinner in the E-Room was great and several of my classmates were dinning in the restaurant that night. My cooking class, Cuisines of the Americas is great the chef does a ton of demonstrations each day and every two days we make food from a different part of the Americas. Next week we start a three week block on the cuisines of Asia. These classes have so many different foods I have never seen or eaten before so I am getting a chance to sample and make some really cool stuff. I can’t wait to have some time to try some of these recipes at home.
Don’t forget if you’re ever in the area or want to come to one of the restaurants to eat let me know and we can hook up and I will show you around the place. This part of New York is starting to get very colorful as fall is fast approaching so it’s a great time to see it and the campus is in a lovely spot overlooking the Hudson River.
So long for now and thanks for stop by to check my progress.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes it’s been some time (over a month) since I did a posting but things have been crazy busy here at the CIA. Skills 3 class was way more work than expected Chef McCue work us very hard with extra class work and lots of home work. So far it was my hardest class and the one I have earned the worse grade so far. We were doing production and Chef had us doing way more than is normal. One day I made 63 orders of Chicken Fricassee and sold 50 orders most of my friends made only 20 orders and one of them only sold 2 orders.
One day me and 4 other members of the class helped the Chef make a video he needed to make showing his teaching skills as he is attempting to become a Certified Hospitality Educator. He instructed us on how to make risotto and I was one of the students that were to make it incorrectly so he could show us what we did incorrect. It was lots of fun because there was no pressure to get it done for service and it was just one portion. Then one day about 5 of us helped the chef with preparing the food for a banquet in the Escoffier Room (the premier French restaurant on campus) and I was cooking the mushrooms and green beans for the entire dinner. The Escoffier Room chef was very complimentary to us and it’s a great thing for us in Skills 3 to have been asked to do that as it’s the last kitchen the students cook in before they graduate and we have only been cooking here at school for 12 weeks.
I am now in the Cuisines of the Americas with Chef Keif and we are making cuisine from the north eastern and mid western parts of United Stated this week and next week we move to the south and south west. The class we scheduled to have 16 students in it and we started on Tuesday with only 12. With the 12 we were able to get the food cooked and served on time Monday and Tuesday saw two students out sick so we were only 10 but we still coked all the food required and opened on time but we had to hustle to get it done.
I am still at school this Friday catching up on some stuff and enjoying a glass of wine with some friends. I don’t stay here that often but I feel I am missing out part of the experience by not being here on weekends so every once and a while I stay on Friday night and hang out with some friends. Yesterday I was back in Connecticut at Fine Cooking Magazine for an interview for an internship. We need to find a job for our internship that lasts 18 weeks starting in December so I am working on finding a job for the first time in very many years.
Lots going on here at the CIA next week. First my friend Diane Corcoran from Easton will be here taking a boot camp so it will be nice to see her. Second on Wednesday Heidi is coming up to visit and we are going to eat at the Escoffier Room for my Birthday I am looking forward to that as the evening chef is a friend and I know he will take very good care of us. Also I almost forgot the other day I received a card in my mailbox (I don’t get much snail mail) from the Dean Congratulating me for making the Dean’s list first semester, pretty cool.
So long for now and I will try to post news a little more regular in the upcoming weeks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It’s been a couple days since the last posting and I am sitting out in the gazebo in front of Roth hall working on my foie gras project and thought it’s time for me to post some news on my blog.
Well it’s been a good week as we started Monday with cooking our fist complete meal. Monday was submerged (deep) poach of salmon with béarnaise sauce. Tuesday was shallow poach of trout with a blance sauce? Wednesday was roasted chicken with pan gravy. Thursday was braised beef short ribs. Friday was stewed chicken. I thought all the dishes came out great but I still don’t like pan gravy. Also this week I received my grade for the Skills 1 class and I earned an A as far as I know the only one in the class to do so. I also found out to day that my chef for the next bloc will be Chef Mc Cue and he is an outstanding instructor. I am very excited to have him and I am looking forward to getting into that kitchen as we will be producing food that is feed to students as their lunch so the pressure is on to have the food ready on time.
The writing class foie gras project is fast coming to a close. I should have the booklet to the printer this week and we do our presentations on Wednesday in the Echo Lab at 4:30. So lot’s has been happening and I have lots to look forward to over the next couple weeks.
I started this posting on Thursday afternoon sitting out in front of Roth hall but did not get to finish it and post it until Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well the vacation is over and it’s back to the kitchen to learn lots of new things to cook. First the trip to Italy and the cruise was great. We toured Venice and Rome for a couple days at each end of the cruise and saw lots of cool stuff in the ports the ship visited. We took about 1000 photos and now I need to review and edit them. Like I need more stuff to do. I would like to think once my writing class project on foie gras is done I should have more time. What’s that all about you ask? My writing class made the decision a couple months ago to do a group writing project and the subject is foie gras. Each student in the class took a different aspect of the subject and is writing a paper on it. I took the production of foie gras as my topic. We plan to present the papers in an auditorium and invite all the students and faculty from campus that are interested in learning about foie gras to attend in a couple weeks so we are in the final stages of writing and reviewing all the papers. Until next time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Well I know I did a posting last night but I have a little time today as we finished early and I am staying on campus until the morning for my field trip to the foie gras farm so I thought I would let you all know how I did on the practical final test. My consume came out great it was as crystal clear and had great taste and my Hollandaise Sauce also came out fine and had great taste.
Have a great day

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sorry it’s been some time since the last posting the time just flies by here at the Culinary. I have been making all kinds of soups and sauces the last couple of weeks and well as pureed potatoes and several vegetables.
Tomorrow is second day of final exams for Skills 1 class. Today we had our knife skills test. For this test we had to make small dice of one onion, medium dice of one onion, small dice of three cloves of garlic, small dice of one shallot, dice some parsley, make tomato consaceeconcasse out of two tomatoes cut several potatoes into 11 different cuts, Fine Julienne, Fine Brunoise, Julienne, Brunoise, Batonnet, Small Dice, Large Batonnet, Small Dice, Medium Dice, Large Dice, Paysanne, and Fermiere (all described in the post below) all done in one hour and the quality of your cuts was check and graded by the Chef. Tomorrows test is to make a Chicken Consume and Hollandaise Sauce both are challenging to do but I have done both before with success so I have confidence I will be successful. After tomorrow we are on summer break until the end of July but I am going on a field trip with some members of my writing class on Friday to the Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm. Our writing class is doing a group project about foie gras and we plan to print a booklet and make a presentation about foie gras in August to anyone interested in attending. The field trip is for research as Hudson Valley is the largest foie gras producer in the United States and its located about one and a half hours drive from school. There will most likely not be any posts during break as I will be on vacation spending two days in Venice then a 12 day cruise that stops all around Italy and the surrounding countries then two days in Rome before flying home so I will not have access to a computer during that time so look for a post in late July about the trip.
By the way despite the difficulty I had with Fish class I surprisingly earned a grade of B- so I was happy. My current GPA is 3.39 and I am happy with that as the book work is more than I expected and it’s been some time since I was in the school mode. My grades in writing class have been good so there is a change I could get an A or A- in that class and I think I am doing well in Skills 1 so that should be a good grade also.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ok well fish class is over and yes it did get better we still went from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm each day but we were able to get some short breaks and on the last day chef Clark took us to one of the kitchens that he had prearranged with that kitchen’s chef for us to be feed a nice lunch.
Yesterday I started in my first kitchen class called Skills 1 and today we actually got to turn on the stove top burned and boil water. It was part of our knife tray. A knife tray is a skills exercise were we peel three onions then we slice one, medium dice one and small dice one, next we peel and dice three cloves of garlic, mince one shallot, and make tomato concasse, that is to skin (this is done by putting them into the boiling water for about 20 to 30 seconds), seed and cut into quarters two tomatoes, then we chopped some parsley, next is peeling five potatoes and cutting them into lots of different things some fine julienne (that is 1/16” x 1/16” x2” long) and fine brunoise (that is 1/16” cubes), then some regular julienne (that is 1/8” x 1/8” x2” long) and some brunoise (that is 1/8” cubes), then some batonnet (that is 1/4” x 1/4” x2” long) and some small dice (that is 1/4” cubes), then some ½” x ½” x 2 “ long cuts and some medium dice ½” cubes and some large dice ¾” cubes and some ¾” x ¾” x 2” pieces. All that is graded by the chef for size, quality and straightness of cut. The Chef had nothing bad to say about my cuts so I guess I did ok. As a class we also made about 15 gallons of chicken stock and about 8 gallons of beef broth today. To make that much chicken stock we start with 120 pounds of chicken bones, about 22 gallons of water and about 30 pounds of mirepoix ( 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, 1 part celery chopped into large pieces) and one very large pot. In fact it’s not really a pot but a floor mounted steam jacketed kettle for making stock or sauces in.
I have a writing class mid-tern exam tomorrow that I have been thinking about what to write for it and it’s a challenge as the subject choices don’t excite me but hopefully something will come to me before the test tomorrow.
Only 12 more days of class until summer break we finish class on July 2nd and don’t restart until July 28th. I have big plans for the break and I will provide updates as it gets closer.
Until next time keep cooking and remember drink no wine before it’s time.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hi all
Things have been going good but I have never been as busy as I am now each day seems to get even busier. The amount of material covered in Meat Identification and Fabrication class was to say the least mind boggling. We covered all the basic meat animals both from the muscle (meat) and bone structure stand points. I now know so much more not only about how to cut meats but I now know the reason different cuts are cooked using different cooking techniques. If that was not enough now we are in Seafood ID & Fabrication class and the amount of information to cover is many times more than Meat class. For example its 6:15 Saturday morning and I am up working on my computer to get a little ahead for next week. We star are days in class at 8:00, the first thing we do is to clear the ice off the fish in the cooler and bring out one of each fish in stock for the identification demo then we need to bring out the fish we need to fabricate (scale, debone and skin) for all the kitchens on campus for the afternoon classes (afternoon classes make dinner for all the students and faculty). Next we do a review of all the fish to be able to identify them and then we put the ones we do not need away before the fun begins. Now it’s time to scale and cut the fish. We spend the next several hours working on the fish. Once we fish that it’s time to bring in and ice the fish shipment for the day and clean up. By now it’s about 12:30 or 1:00 so time for our lecture and tasting. Chef lectures for a couple hours and then we taste small pieces of a couple of different fish finishing at 4:00 (notice I did not mention and breaks or lunch)
In meat class my days started at 5:30. I had class from 7:00 to 1:00 then homework until dinner then after dinner more homework until 11:00 then sleep. Now in fish class its up at 6:30 study and breakfast till class starts at 8:00 and so far fish class has run till 4 even though it’s only scheduled till 2:00. On Wednesday and Friday I have writing from 4:0 to 5:30 then its dinner at 5:30. After dinner it’s homework till I go to sleep between 11:00 and 11:30. I have no time to do anything but school work. I understand that once I start in the skills kitchen things will slow down a little. Well it’s time to run I have some more home work to do.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sorry it’s been some time since a posting but things have been crazy busy here at the CIA. I have just finished two days of final exams; I had my Food Safely and my Gastronomy finals yesterday and my Math and Product knowledge final exams today. I feel good about how I did and I should get an A in Math and get no worse than B in the other three classes and if I did very well on the finals any one of those could be a B+ or an A-. Next Tuesday we start the Meat ID and fabrication class. Meat class runs for 7 days from 7:00 am to 1:15 pm each day. In this class we will learn about how to identify the different parts of the different animals and how to butcher them to make servable portions. This class fabricates all the meat used by the other students in the kitchens to make all the meals served on campus. Sorry I need to run I promised a young student I would help him in the stockroom studying the various products and it’s time to go.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I posted a couple of pictures today and I know no picture of me, to be honest I forgot to take one but it really does not matter as most of you know what I look like, but I will get one taken and post it soon. I will also try to answer the comments that fan of flan asked about how living in the dorm and fitting in with the other students is working out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sorry for the long delay between postings but things here at the Culinary are very busy, with the class schedule here we complete a complete semester of class work in 6 weeks. I have 5 classes I am taking and each one has a large project to be done for it. I just presented my gastronomy project today so that one is done and out of the way, I have completed the project for product knowledge that is due tomorrow and in fact completed the math one that’s due on next Monday last night. Now all I need to do is keep up with the daily class, home work and reading. Boy doing this college thing is harder now then it was 30+ years ago. It’s all starting to come together in my mind I know am starting to understand the reason we study gastronomy and why it’s important and the impact that chefs like Crème, Escoffier and Point had on the food of their time and how what they did influences what is happening in the kitchens of the great chefs all around the world today. Well that’s all I have time for today need to get to work on my writing homework and the writing project.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just finished up my work for the day, it was a long day. My school work day started at 6:45 am with a visit to the food stock/storeroom for my Product Knowledge home work. Then it was off to Food Safety class then to Gastronomy class both last 2 hours. Unfortunately I am in class from 9:15 to 1:30 with no break to get lunch. After class I spent the afternoon working on home work until dinner then back to my room for more home work. I will visit the stock room again each morning this week as it’s a great way to see all the food products that are available to the kitchens here and what is available to a chef in today’s market. Tomorrow after my visit to the stock room I have Math class then a meeting with two other students about our gastronomy project then Product Knowledge class until 1:30. After that I have time to do home work or go to the gym before my 4:00 writing class. Until next time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ok things are starting to get serious here at the Culinary. This is what I have to look forward to for the next 9 weeks the first 6 weeks is class work Food Safety, Math, Product Knowledge, Gastronomy and Writing for 15 weeks then its 3 weeks of fish and meat fabrication (learning how to butcher a whole fish and large pieces of meat down to the portion size you would get served in a restaurant) after that I get to go into the kitchen and make stocks and sauces for 3 weeks. I have spent all evening printing out class assignments, class syllabus, and power point slide presentations used in class as well as assorted other paper work related to all my classes. I have been meeting lots of interesting people and visiting with some old friends here at the Culinary and am ready to get done to some serious work.

The dorm room is pretty nice, lots of room for 2 people some of the rooms have 3 people in the same space and that gets crowded. Our room is on the top floor of the 3 story dorm so it’s pretty quite so far and the floor has mostly rooms with girls living in them there are only 3 or 4 rooms with guys. Went to Bed, Bath and Beyond today to get a couple things we needed for the room and although the drive is not so bad the hike to the car in the student parking lots is about ½ mile if you parked in the back of the lot like I was. Not so bad going out but coming back and carrying all the stuff it was a long walk. One good thing is with living on campus in the dorm with a room on the third floor is I have been doing a great deal of walking up and down the stairs and all around campus. With any luck that will help me get into a little better shape. Well I need to run as I have some homework to get finished before I go to sleep.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Well the big day finally arrived and I have moved into my dorm room and I am working on getting settled in. My roommate Michael is the same age as me and he is from Waco Texas. Yesterday and today we have orientation stuff and the first day of class is tomorrow. It has been a hectic couple of days with moving in and setting up all my stuff in the room as well as yesterday we had to complete an online alcohol education course for freshmen and it took about 3 hours and did not really apply to a 54 year old student. Michael and I thought it was a waste of time but if we did not do it and pass the test we would get 2 demerits and we did not want that. Well I need to run time for breakfast and then off to the first event of the day.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Well just over two weeks to go until the start or my adventure at the Culinary. Lots to report about today. I received the contact information about my roommate and called him. His name is Michael and he is from Waco Texas and is the same age as me so like he said to me and I quote “I guess it's never too late--even for old farts like us. I think the CIA pairing process is indicative of their concern for the welfare of the students, and that's a good thing. I was worried about getting stuck with a bunch of 20-something’s” my sentiments exactly.
I have been doing the shopping thing getting all the supplies I should need to outfit a college dorm room plus getting new dress shoes, kitchen clogs and other required clothing. The dress code at the Culinary is not like you’re typical college they have a “Professionalism, Uniform and Hygiene Policy” booklet that is sent to each student and it’s 20 pages long covering everything a student needs to know about how to dress and act at the Culinary. No jeans and tee shirts to class or meals, one has to dress professionally when going to and from class as well as in the student dining rooms.
Well I need to run I have lots to get done in the next two weeks, check back often after the 14th to see what’s happening at the CIA

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ok its official I sent the tuition check for the first semester so the countdown begins only 7 weeks until the first day of Culinary College. I have started to collect some of the stuff one needs when they go to college and will be collection a lot more over the next couple weeks. I hope my car is big enough to get it all to campus when the time comes.
On another note I just received the check for my first paying job as a chef, as some of you may know I went to Washington DC to work for a catering firm during the inauguration in January for 3 days. It was the most amazing work I worked as a chef at three major inauguration events, a Brunch that served 2200 people, a Multi Course sit down Dinner served to 1300 people that the President and Vice President Elect were in attendance, and a 5 hour Lunch Buffet for over 1200 people in an office building overlooking the parade route. All this work was done in makeshift kitchens two were set up in a tent outside and one was in a lunch room. So after that trip I guess now I can say I am a Professional Chef since I have been paid to cook.

Also this past week a was requested to make a special birthday cake for a friend’s 6 year old son he wanted one of the cars from the movie “CARS” I have put a photo of the cake here so you can see how it turned out.
Keep checking back for more updates and I expect they will get more interesting after I get to campus.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Well I got the results of my writing and math test and I don’t have to take the remedial math and writing classes I guess in the 20 plus years running a company I learned how to do basic math and writing. I also got the report from my doctor and despite the fact that I have abused my body for the past 54 years I sill passed the required college physical that included some very strange tests. I will be visiting the Culinary Institute on Tuesday to check with the admissions department on one outstanding issue and if all is in order I will make my first tuition payment. Poor Heidi has to work to support having three kids in college.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Start

I will be starting class on April 14th. Last week I took Compass tests to determine if I need to take the basic Math and English Classes as well as went to see my doctor to get a physical to complete the college medical forms.